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Trump’s Twitter Audience — Are They All Conservatives?

Apr 8, 2019 | Insights

President Donald J. Trump — in animatronic form — addresses assembled tourists, and those who have preceded him as commander-in-chief (the latter bunch also, presumably, in animatronic form) at Walt Disney World’s ‘Hall of Presidents’ attraction.

With this entry we’re going to put our StatSocial social media audience analysis tool to work parsing out the likely fans and admirers among President Trump’s American Twitter followers, from those who are looking in, “listening,” or are otherwise engaged for reasons beyond a display of support.

The unique nature of this particular president’s relationship with social media — often immediate, unfiltered, and forthright — finds a greater proportion of his audience, than what is typical, following him for reasons other than overt endorsement. Realizing this is almost certainly true, to varying degrees, of all U.S. presidents, for context we’ve also included the same audience breakdowns for the four living former U.S. presidents, as well as the recently deceased President George H. W. Bush.

From the curious, to the concerned, to those who hope to possibly air their thoughts and feelings before the POTUS’ eyes, and beyond, StatSocial is uniquely equipped to determine — by factoring in the proportions of assorted affinities, likes, leanings, political affiliations, and so forth, pulled and factored into our reporting from throughout cyberspace—the most accurate audience breakdown of this nature.

Donald J. Trump

Donald Trump had been a prominent figure on social media — and at times a rather politically charged one — for a number of years by the time he threw his hat into the presidential hopeful ring. There was an expectation among some that he might curb his use of the platforms once his candidacy revealed itself as legitimate and formidable. Wisely, as it turns out, either instinctively or strategically, Trump knew that avoiding social media had not been a necessary precaution to find him as the GOP’s front-runner, and eventual presidential nominee. So, as we suspect is known by all reading, he did not — neither during the campaign nor since his inauguration in January of 2017 — stop taking to social platforms to broadcast his thoughts and feelings, on occasion seemingly in real time.

Okay then, let’s get into this.

WHO IS BEING LOOKED AT?: For this report, we’ll be analyzing only followers who are U.S. residents. As you’ll see beneath the below graphic, we’ve provided some additional metrics to help give these numbers context.

Twitter Followers: 59.6 million
Percentage of Audience from the U.S.: 57.17%
Percentage of U.S. Audience that is Engaged Highly with Political Topics: 25.56%
Percentage of U.S. Audience that is Right-Leaning: 75%
Percentage of U.S. Audience that is Left-Leaning: 25%

Accepting that the POTUS — whomever he or she may be — will always be of interest to potentially billions of individuals, spanning the globe, and that additionally this particular president was an international celebrity even before his candidacy, it is still notable that nearly 43% of his audience originate from outside of the United States. As stated above, however, here we’re analyzing only the U.S. audience.

A full quarter of the president’s U.S. audience, whatever their political leanings, are likely here due to their significant engagement with political matters.

Our DMA heat maps show that the strongest geographic location (relative to population) for the president is located in Clarksburg-Weston, W.V.

This is all lovely, but what does it mean for me?!

Everything, we think. The StatSocial platform’s insights are applicable, and indeed necessary, for comprehending the personalities, and predicting the behaviors, of those who comprise any group of which you can think. We’re applying it here to politics, but if you head over to the greater StatSocial Blog, or to the general StatSocial website, you’ll get a greater sense of how invaluable our tool can be when seeking to understand any group of people or consumers in our contemporary world.

This quickie stat is but a tease of the truths StatSocial’s data can tell you about any consumer audience, be it social media followers, first or third party consumer data, survey takers, etc.

For further contrast and context, let us continue by looking at the audiences of the other living presidents (as well as the recently deceased President George H. W. Bush):

It was said frequently, back 10 years ago or so, that Barack Obama was the United States’ first “social media president.” 2008, of course, really was the first presidential election year where that title was realistically up for grabs. In the few short years between George W. Bush’s reelection victory over John Kerry in 2004, and the 2007 run-up to the following year’s presidential election’s primaries, the — what was then referred to as — “new media” landscape had evolved monumentally. YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter had all entered the scene, and more people were actively interacting with content, and each other, online than ever before.

Obama’s campaign masterfully comprehended the power and immediacy of social media, and utilized it to edge out then Senator Hillary Clinton in the Democrat primaries.

While the late Senator John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign may also have recognized — and rather impressively harnessed — the power of these platforms, President Obama’s team seemed unusually in sync with the pulse of the then nascent communications space.

As a result of this, plus a level of global celebrity that surpasses what is usual for even the U.S. president, it could very easily be argued that President Barack Obama is — in sheer numbers — the king of social media.

With 104 million followers on Twitter, 20 million followers on Instagram, 55 million people who have liked his official Facebook page, and an overall massive footprint left throughout the social-sphere, in raw numbers his audience will surpass most when it comes to a great many statistics.

Here, however, we are focused on proportions, and with one exception (but one of radically differing audience size), President Trump — compared to the below lot of his predecessors — finds the greatest chunk of his audience with allegiances to a side of the aisle other than his own.

Barack Obama

Twitter Followers: 103.9 million
Percentage of Audience from the U.S.: 42.77%
Percentage of U.S. Audience that is Engaged Highly with Political Topics: 17.17%
Percentage of U.S. Audience that is Left-Leaning: 78%
Percentage of U.S. Audience that is Right-Leaning: 22%

As stated above, the raw numbers here are quite profound. Proportionally, though, compared to the audience of President Trump, a significantly larger percentage of President Obama’s audience are likely counted among his numbers due to their shared political leanings.

While the proportion of President Trump’s audience who live outside of the U.S. is a striking figure, a comfortable majority of Obama’s crowd are originating from the globe’s many far flung corners. Yet and still, given just how large Obama’s audience is that means the sample size being analyzed is made up of 59,404,740 people, over 46 million of whom are liberal, or left-leaning.

George W. Bush

Twitter Followers: 156,000
Percentage of Audience from the U.S.: 80.74%
Percentage of U.S. Audience that is Engaged Highly with Political Topics: 50.12%
Percentage of U.S. Audience that is Left-Leaning: 76%
Percentage of U.S. Audience that is Right-Leaning: 24%

President Bush (the younger) has returned to his life as a private citizen to as large an extent as a former U.S. president can accomplish. As such, his direct social media audience is rather modest. That said, proportionally, he finds the segment of his audience inclined toward the left to be very close to that of the current president (accepting that the sample-size here is 126k to Trump’s 32 million).

Bill Clinton

Twitter Followers: 10.8 million
Percentage of Audience from the U.S.: 60.13%
Percentage of U.S. Audience that is Engaged Highly with Political Topics: 36.82%
Percentage of U.S. Audience that is Left-Leaning: 80%
Percentage of U.S. Audience that is Right-Leaning: 20%

President Clinton has continued to lead a much more public life than his immediate successor since leaving office in January of 2001. He and his wife, Secretary Hillary Clinton — whom President Trump of course defeated in the 2016 general election — are dedicated to public life and maintaining high profiles even during their most subdued years. Accordingly, after Presidents Trump and Obama, Clinton has the largest audience of any of those being looked at here. The U.S. portion of the audience being analyzed for this entry is made up of a considerable 6.5 million people.

That makes the main statistic here — of those being noted in this entry — particularly meaningful. A full four-fifths of Clinton’s audience displays a confident liberal/progressive-leaning in their political affinities.

There’s something of a correlation — although not a perfect one (particularly given the small number of audiences we’re observing) — between an audience’s size and the proportion that is actively engaged politically. That accepted, it is still noteworthy that nearly 4 million of the individuals in President Clinton’s crowd can likely be found here due to their greater, demonstrated interest in politics.

George H. W. Bush

Twitter Followers: 362,000
Percentage of Audience from the U.S.: 83.39%
Percentage of U.S. Audience that is Engaged Highly with Political Topics: 52.21%
Percentage of U.S. Audience that is Left-Leaning: 71%
Percentage of U.S. Audience that is Right-Leaning: 29%

At the end of last November, President George Herbert Walker Bush died. While he left office in 1993, he lived well into the explosion of the internet and, subsequently, social media. His presence was relatively humble, but by no means insignificant (his direct audience being larger, for example, than the current one of his two-term president son outlined above).

A number of factors are responsible for the very significant percentage of his audience whose political leanings are liberal (those very possibly including his having been out of office, and the greater political discourse, for nearly 30 years, a close personal friendship with President Clinton, the shifting definitions of “left” and “right” over the past few decades, etc.). President Bush’s audience is, all the same, statistically speaking, the most politically diverse of any of those being observed here.

Jimmy Carter

Twitter Followers: 56,300
Percentage of Audience from the U.S.: 71.52%
Percentage of U.S. Audience that is Engaged Highly with Political Topics: 47.80%
Percentage of U.S. Audience that is Left-Leaning: 77%
Percentage of U.S. Audience that is Right-Leaning: 23%

President Carter was succeeded by Ronald Reagan 37-years ago, after one term in office. While even now, at 94-years of age, he is still very much engaged in a life of public service and philanthropy, he has not been central to the political discussion for some time.

His social media presence is, as one might truthfully expect, the smallest of those being looked at here. Still, proportionally, he is edging up on an ideological breakdown among his audience roughly in keeping with George W. Bush and President Trump. His active and high-profile involvement in such largely non-partisan charities as Habitat for Humanity could — despite a presidency often debated among pundits — very possibly explain that, at least in part.

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